Tiger Woods won’t seek surgery for plantar fasciitis, choosing ‘stretch and relax’ approach
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Written by Kevin Prise @PGATOURKevin
Tiger Woods on tournament, foundation during Round 1 of Hero
Tiger Woods won the 2008 U.S. Open on a broken leg.
But it’s tissue on the bottom of the foot that has him sleeping in a boot.
Woods withdrew from this week’s Hero World Challenge due to a bout with plantar fasciitis, an inflammation of a thick band of tissue (plantar fascia) that connects the heel bone to the base of the toes. The common condition – more than 2 million people in the U.S. are treated for it each year, according to the Cleveland Clinic – causes a stabbing pain near the heel.
Woods said Thursday that he will not pursue surgery for the condition, rather opting for the more common “stretch and relax” method of recovery.
“You don’t want to go down the surgical route,” Woods said Thursday on the Golf Channel broadcast of the Hero World Challenge. “Injections, surgical, or just stretch and relax, and I chose to stretch and relax.
“Get off your feet, which I have done and continue to do. Also sleep at night with a boot on; try to stretch it out.”
Surgery for plantar fasciitis involves cutting part of the plantar fascia ligament to release the tension and relieve swelling, but the varied potential risks such as infection and nerve injury make it an option of last resort. Consequently, just 5% of those with plantar fasciitis opt for surgery, according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.
The plantar fascia connects the foot’s bones together to form an arch on the bottom of the foot, with plantar fasciitis occurring when the plantar fascia is overused or stretched too far. Common causes of plantar fasciitis include “being on your feet all day for work” and “playing sports,” according to the Cleveland Clinic, making professional golfers susceptible. Sharp pain is the predominant symptom, particularly after sleeping or sitting down.
“When you first step out of bed, it’s like, ‘Oh my God,’” Woods said with a wince.
Woods said he has displayed strong form in casual rounds at home in south Florida, carding nine-hole scores of 4 and 5 under, and posting “a couple 63s and 64s.” He can walk nine holes but describes the 18-hole walk as a more daunting proposition.
“It’s just a long haul,” Woods said. “I just can’t walk for too long a period of time.”
For the 82-time TOUR winner who has continuously conquered adversity on and off the course, it’s a band of tissue that keeps him off his feet for now. He plans to compete at The Match next Saturday and the following weekend’s PNC Championship alongside son Charlie, utilizing a cart for both events.
Kevin Prise is an associate editor for PGATOUR.COM. He is on a lifelong quest to break 80 on a course that exceeds 6,000 yards and to see the Buffalo Bills win a Super Bowl. Follow Kevin Prise on Twitter.